Conceptual Design FAQs
- Ill-defined user corridors, paths, and areas on Main Street and on Garmisch Street
- Inconsistent stop for inbound buses on Garmisch Street
- Passengers off-boarding in the street at inbound Garmisch stop
- Impaired site-lines at the crossing on Main Street and on Garmisch Street make it difficult for motorists to see pedestrians
- Lack of waiting space/seating for bus riders at Main Street outbound stop
- Ponding of rainwater at Main Street outbound stop
- Disjointed connectivity with other destinations in town
- Lack of bus route information at stops
- Aging stormwater infrastructure
- A desire for a covering or shelter at the outbound Main Street stop with enhanced seating, real-time bus signs, and better route information
- Main Street pedestrian crossing is distressing/feels dangerous
- Garmisch is disorganized and has conflicting user corridors
- Sidewalk connections could be improved
- Thinner, long BRT style bus shelter with increased cover and seating 25-30 people shelter
- Route maps and RFTA info, digital real-time signage
- Separate waiting area from private property with additional bench seating
- Move north rapid flashing beacon onto raised island south of the bus pad to improve beacon visibility for motorists and serve as a safe pedestrian refuge to view traffic and cross Main Street
- Signage and striping improvements including shark teeth yield markings
- Grading and drainage improvements to prevent puddling and splashing
- Rain gardens
- Bear-resistant trash and recycling receptacles
- View conceptual renderings of proposed improvements >>
- Larger curve radius on southwest Main Street intersection corner for easier turning maneuver onto Garmisch
- Formalized bus pull-off for the existing Garmisch bus stop located beyond the mid-block crossing just before Hopkins with passengers unloading directly onto sidewalk
- Mid-block crosswalk
- Parallel public parking by Molly Gibson
- Ten diagonal, 2-hour public parking for park users with permeable pavers
- WE-cycle parking station with infrastructure to support future e-bike services
- One Car To Go parking space with electric charging station
- Detached sidewalk along west side of Paepcke park with ADA accessible ramps
- Narrowed roadway accommodates bus pull off while allowing room for two-way traffic
- View conceptual renderings of proposed improvements >>
- #1: Rubey Park Transit Center
- #2: Paepcke Transit Hub Stops
- Main Street Outbound: The outbound bus stop on the north side of Main Street across from Paepcke Park primarily serves as a pick-up stop. (Stop A on map below.)
- Main Street Inbound: The inbound bus stop on the south side of Main Street next to Paepcke Park primarily serves as a drop-off stop for local routes. (Stop B on map below.)
- Garmisch Street Inbound: The inbound bus stop on Garmisch Street next to Paepcke Park primarily serves as a drop-off stop for the BRT and skier shuttles. (Stop C on map below.)
- #3: 8th Street Stops
What is the Paepcke Transit Hub?
Paepcke Transit Hub refers to the existing collection of multi-modal transportation options that are grouped close together around Paepcke Park, a critical and central location to Aspen, just outside of the commercial core. In addition to passing pedestrians and bicyclists, the Paepcke Transit Hub includes two WE-cycle stations, a Car To Go station, and the three bus stops by Paepcke Park (Main Street Outbound, Main Street Inbound, and Garmisch Street Inbound).
The Paepcke Transit Hub Improvements Project seeks to improve the safety and function of existing services and to upgrade infrastructure to support emerging technology. There are no proposed changes to existing bus routing or service levels in the Paepcke Transit Hub Improvements project. This project is about making existing infrastructure and services safer for all users.
Because safety infrastructure improvements are most effective when they are tied into a united system, the conceptual design looks at this area holistically, proposing a network of cohesive, interconnected improvement measures. Key aspects to the proposed improvements are to update infrastructure to influence safer usage patterns, establish safer connections, and upgrading existing amenities to better accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, bus users, and motorists.
Why is the city looking at safety improvements?
Paepcke Park is the second busiest transit area in the city, with three popular bus stops, two WE-cycle stations, a Car To Go station, and its central location in town. Following public input, the Bike and Ped Master Plan, and Council direction, the City of Aspen is exploring areas for improvement along Main Street and Garmisch Street at Paepcke Park.
Over 330 community members participated in various public input opportunities regarding safety concerns along Paepcke Park in Aspen on Garmisch Street and Main Street. Four main themes emerged from this feedback:
One commenter wrote, “At least twice a day we use the Paepcke bus stops as we drop off our kids at the yellow brick or picking them up. It is very scary crossing the road with the kids as cars don't see you.”
From comments like this and hundreds of others, the City of Aspen has developed conceptual designs to make critical safety and user experience improvements.
What is the proposed design for the outbound Main Street bus stop and the other Main Street improvements?
Main Street Improvements Highlights:
Main Street Improvements Description:
To better accommodate bus riders and pedestrians at this popular stop, the project is proposing a modified Aspen-specific BRT shelter on the corner of Garmisch & Main with dedicated space for real-time electronic arrival signs, route maps, and other RFTA related information as a part of the Main Street improvements. The heavy use of this sidewalk by pedestrians, and volume of expected users resulted in a thinner, but longer shelter designed to accommodate a maximum of 25-30 people who can comfortably sit or stand under the BRT shelter's signature butterfly roof.
This also includes a space at the back of the shelter away from the pedestrian flow that is specifically designed for four or five standing adults who can use the standing shelf that is wide enough to place a laptop onto, plug into an outlet and work from prior to the bus arriving.
Improvements to the grading and drainage will also mean pedestrians will no longer be splashed by vehicles driving through standing water which is being particularly prevalent along the northwest corner of Main Street.
The proposed improvements include moving a flashing beacon to a raised island that will provide all westbound traffic with an optimal view of the beacon not blocked by buses. This will better alert drivers to slow down and stop and allow for pedestrians to cross. The island also provides a safe refuge for pedestrians crossing in front of a loading bus to view oncoming traffic.
The conceptual design also proposes rain gardens at either end of the shelter that catch and absorb all precipitation from the roof. Benches integrated into the rain garden, behind and alongside the shelter provide additional seating options during peak times. City standard bear-resistant trash and recycling receptacles are proposed to be near the shelter by the sidewalk intersection. These, together with a smoker's tower, are placed on the edge of the new porous paved WE-cycle bike parking station.
Inbound Main Street buses will continue to drop off passengers disembarking at Paepcke Park at the same mid-block location with a proposed dedicated bus pad and a widened sidewalk at the drop off location that will greatly improve circulation conflicts that exist today. Further improvements at the stop include detaching the sidewalk in conformance with the city standards which will in turn provide a safer distance for users which often include preschoolers heading to the Yellow Brick School from traffic on Main Street.
What is the proposed design for the Garmisch bus stop and the other Garmisch improvements?
Garmisch Street Improvements Highlights:
Garmisch Street Improvements Description:
Starting with the turn off Main Street, going southbound on Garmisch Street, the proposed design adds a larger curb radius and parallel parking by the Molly Gibson creating an easier bus turning maneuver onto Garmisch Street. Buses will make their way to a new dedicated bus pull off beyond the mid-block crossing. Bus riders can disembark from the bus in a safe, designated pedestrian friendly area.
The new mid-block crosswalk will greatly improve the safety of pedestrians who need to make their way towards Main Street. Once safely over to the Paepcke Park side of Garmisch Street, pedestrians can access the park or use the new detached sidewalk adjacent to the park to take them north to Main Street.
The existing 90-degree parking adjacent to the park is proposed to be replaced with ten diagonal parking spaces using porous pavers for the stalls plus a dedicated Car To Go space with an electrical charging station.
Why do the proposed Garmisch Street improvements include a bus pull off?
Currently, inbound buses on Garmisch drop-off passengers in the street at different stopping points. Pedestrians are crossing behind the bus, not on a dedicated pedestrian path, while there are cars turning onto Garmisch. This is a very unsafe situation. Community feedback also indicated concern that Garmisch Street is disorganized and has conflicting user corridors and that there could be improvements in the sidewalk connections.
By formalizing the existing stop with a dedicated bus pull off, the proposed design better structures interactions for all users, establishing a safer place for busses to let off passengers onto a sidewalk, and coordinates the assigned stopping location with an established area. With buses pulling out of the roadway, it keeps traffic flowing on Garmisch and Main Street and prevents the need for cars to cross lanes to pass around an unloading bus. The bus pull off improves infrastructure around a critical, heavily utilized, drop off point to make it safer for pedestrians and motorists.
The Garmisch pull-off is designed to be within city right-of-way and all project improvements are within the edge of the existing sidewalk and roadway. No vertical structure is planned for this stop as the vast majority of bus riders use the Garmisch stop primarily as a drop off point. The proposed Garmisch improvements are part of cohesive measures that work together to improve safety for all user groups.
Why does RFTA turn onto Garmisch and make a drop off by Paepcke Park?
The inbound Garmisch routing was selected for all BRT buses following a full review of public input and operational considerations by Aspen City Council and RFTA. The location of the inbound stop on Garmisch was selected because of its strategic regional location, bus turning feasibility, routing reliability, timing, and cost savings. The route offers BRT riders with the fastest and most reliable trip into town and the Garmisch stop serves as a critical mid-town drop off. Typical users are morning commuters including riders going to areas along/across Main Street and those who attend programs at the Red and Yellow Brick buildings. Skier shuttles also use this route in the winter, with some ski ridership boarding here.
The turn onto Garmisch is feasible for buses, which have wide turn radiuses, and avoids delays added by stoplight intersections including Aspen St and those closer to the core of town. Additionally, the proposed design adds a larger curb radius and parallel parking by the Molly Gibson creating an easier bus turning maneuver onto Garmisch Street.
Why are there three bus stops in this area?
Each stop serves different purposes and are important to the Aspen public transportation system.
The outbound stop on Main Street is serviced by nearly every bus route offered by RFTA, including BRT, Cemetery Lane, Castle Maroon, Burlingame, and RFV Local. This stop is the busiest of the three by Paepcke Park and functions primarily as a pick-up point.
The inbound stop on Main Street is serviced by the Cemetery Lane, Castle Maroon, Burlingame, and RFV Local routes which continue to other stops along Main Street and throughout the core before arriving at Rubey Park. This stop functions primarily as a drop-off point.
The inbound stop on Garmisch is serviced by winter skier shuttles and BRT buses. The Garmisch stop was selected for all BRT buses because of its strategic location, bus turning feasibility, routing reliability, timing, routing balance, and cost savings. The Garmisch stop sees higher volumes of unloading passengers without interrupting the inbound vehicle flow on Main Street.
Why is there not a bus pull off for the Main Street inbound stop?
In order to protect the Paepcke Park green space and prevent the buses from re-entering Main St traffic, the conceptual design does not include a bus pull off for the Main Street stop. The design does include detaching the sidewalk from the roadway, which is in line with city engineering standards and provides a safer distance for users which often includes preschoolers heading to the Yellow Brick School from traffic on Main Street. It also adds a wider sidewalk area at the bus stop location to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and bus users and will greatly improve circulation conflicts that exist today with passengers unloading skis, children, bikes and strollers at this location, which is especially challenging and stressful for disembarking riders during the winter months.
How many people use the multi-modal services within the Paepcke Transit Hub area?
Paepcke Transit Hub includes a collection of multi-modal transportation options that are grouped close together around Paepcke Park. The combination of three bus stops (Main Street Outbound, Main Street Inbound, Garmisch Street Inbound), two WE-cycle stations, a Car To Go station, and passing pedestrians and bicyclists, make the Paepcke Transit Hub the second busiest transit area in Aspen.
Ridership at Aspen Bus Stop Clusters
Ridership numbers at each of these transit areas vary, but these are the rankings of the top three busiest transit areas in Aspen.
There are two WE-cycle stations within the Paepcke Transit Hub area, one on each side of Main Street. During the 2019 season, more than 5,600 WE-cycle trips originated or ended from these stations making the Paepcke Transit Hub the 4th busiest WE-cycle location.
How would parking on Garmisch change under the proposed design?
The conceptual design would change Garmisch parking along the west side of Paepcke Park to diagonal parking. There would be (ten) diagonal, 2-hour public parking for park users with permeable pavers and one Car to Go parking space with an electric charging station
As part of Molly Gibson’s redevelopment process, they are changing the 90-degree parking in front of their building to three parallel parking spots.
Currently, there are (20) 2-hour public parking spots [(4) parallel spots, (16) 90-degree parking spots] on Garmisch Street between Hopkins and Main Street.
Can a stoplight be installed at the Main and Garmisch intersection?
The City of Aspen has discussed safety at this intersection with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). It has been determined that this intersection does not meet CDOT criteria to be a signalized intersection due to lack of vehicle traffic on Garmisch Street.
How must the CDOT grant funding be utilized?
The City was awarded up to $650,000 in 50/50 split grant funding for construction of this project from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Options Funds. These grant funds must be utilized for project construction by 2023. The grant is for the entire project due to the multi-modal aspects both on Main and Garmisch Streets.
Funding and COVID-19
The City of Aspen is also pleased to announce that up to $750,000 in external funding has been secured for the construction of this project. The City was awarded up to $650,000 in 50/50 split grant funding for construction of this project from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Options Funds. These grant funds must be utilized for project construction by 2023. City staff has also secured approximately $100,000 through the Small Lodging Program, RFTA and private development.
The City of Aspen understands the uncertainty around this unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis, especially in reference to what our future will look like. The City of Aspen is very mindful of our budget and is currently proceeding with projects that are essential for health, safety, and that address critical infrastructure. Moving forward with design and planning for the Paepcke Transit Hub Improvement Project helps to ensure the community has ongoing critical infrastructure into the future.
By continuing with planning efforts, the City of Aspen exercises fiscal responsibility and maximizes use of available external funding sources. Currently, construction of this project is estimated to cost $1.3 million. The estimated construction cost is based on preliminary designs and could change as design develops and as construction prices fluctuate.